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How To Ease The First Day Of School Jitters

Whether your child is going to school for the first time, changing schools, or simply going back to school after summer break, the start of the school year can be a stressful time for kids of all ages. If your child is experiencing some anxiety about going back to school, these tips may help.

  • Familiarize him or her with the environment. Especially for children going to school for the first time, getting to know their school beforehand can help relieve their jitters. Introduce your child to his or her teacher, tour the school library and scope out the playground over the summer. The more fun and familiar school looks, the less intimidating it will be on the first day.
  • Go to all orientation activities. These are built-in opportunities to meet teachers and other classmates before classes start. These are also a great way for older kids to get familiar with the layout of a newer, larger school.
  • Meet new friends. If you are starting in a new school district after moving to a new home, your child may be feeling uprooted and nervous about making new friends. Set up play dates with other kids in your neighborhood that are your child’s age. For older children or teens, find local clubs or groups to get them involved with other kids their age.
  • Go back to school shopping. Shopping for school supplies or a special outfit to wear on the first day of school can help to get your child excited about starting the new school year. Checking items off of the school supply list can also help your child feel like he or she is well-prepared for class and has all of the necessary materials.
  • Communicate. Make sure your child knows that he or she can come talk to you freely about any concerns, worries, or fears. Knowing that you are available to listen can help relieve anxiety about starting the school year.

Maintaining a positive attitude and taking a structured, organized approach to heading back to school can remove many of the stressors that cause anxiety in kids. Taking these steps can help your child feel comfortable, familiar and well-prepared to start a new school year at any age.

If your child is refusing to go back to school or is experiencing significant anxiety, you may be dealing with school refusal. Learn more about how to handle school refusal, also called school avoidance.

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